Updated 6:45 p.m.
Washington-based law firm Van Ness Feldman and Seattle-based GordonDerr announced Wednesday that the two firms would be merging their practices to form one firm.
The new firm, which will take the name Van Ness Feldman, merges GordonDerr’s 14 partners and two associates with Van Ness’ 47 members and 35 associates and of counsel, for a total of 98 lawyers.
The combination of the two firms is expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2012. In the interim, the Seattle office will operate as Van Ness Feldman GordonDerr.
Rick Agnew, managing member of Van Ness’ Seattle office, said in an interview that his firm saw an opportunity to combine with a firm that has developed expertise in land use, real estate development and emergency management.
“We don’t try to extend beyond the areas that we cover,” said Agnew. “In those areas, we have sufficient depth that is proven.”
Agnew will move to Washington, D.C. to assume the role of national chairman of the new firm beginning Jan. 1. Jay Derr, current managing partner at GordonDerr, will be the Seattle managing partner. The attorneys said despite their sudden growth into what many would classify as the midsize range, they still could be considered a boutique.
“We’re still a boutique firm,” Derr said. “We are in a position to better serve our clients and provide better opportunity.”
Van Ness maintains practices in energy, environment, transportation and natural resources law and public policy. GordonDerr has specialized in real estate, land use, water law and civil litigation.